If you've been anywhere near the internet in the past couple of years, you will notice there is a revolution taking place. Readers have been crying out for more diverse reading choices, and movements such as #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #DiverseCanLit have been flooded with support. At a recent discussion during a Children's Book Council forum, diversity was a topic at the forefront. Panelists reported seeing books marketed across genders rather than a focus on gender-segregated titles, increased sales of books featuring a diverse cast of characters, and a general hunger in readers for more books that reflect their own experiences. Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music, noted that diverse books were flying off the shelves, but she couldn't be certain if buyers were making intentional decisions to buy more diverse books or if there was simply an increased availability of diverse children's titles for the first time.
But discoverability has always been a major hurdle for publishers. Have a selection of gorgeous, diverse titles that you are dying to put in front of readers, and also those who have the buying power at independent bookstores, libraries, and major chains? Maybe it's time we start calling for more diverse catalogues.
Putting together a diverse catalogue in CataList is as simple as pulling together a custom catalogue. It's so easy that publishers have already started to realize what a powerful selling tool they have at their fingertips. Groundwood Books recently put together a diversity-focused children's catalogue that garnered a fair bit of industry attention, in part as a guide to booksellers and librarians but also simply because telling diverse stories is part of their publishing mandate and they wanted to highlight those stories. Similarly, Ampersand Inc. released a catalogue showcasing diverse titles for juvenile and teen readers.
Want to make a diverse catalogue of your own? We have a handy video guide to custom catalogue creation, or if you prefer to read instructions you can find a step-by-step guide as well. Don't forget to spread the word about your catalogue after it's complete via social media or by sending directly to your favourite retailers and library staff. If you'd prefer to keep your catalogue trade-only for the time being, that's also now an option.
We hope publishers and distributors will take up the challenge of creating more catalogues that showcase diverse titles, and not just for young readers, but all readers. You can showcase anything: strong female voices, books focusing on mental health, LGBTQA+ stories, more POC heroines—the sky is the limit! We want to see and showcase your diverse catalogues, so please remember to share them with us.